In the spirit of full disclosure, this product was given to me by Arc’teryx and I am generally biased towards their products [because they’re the best, duh]. While previous to becoming an ambassador I might not have written a review, I probably would have seen you at the crag and told you about my awesome gear [read: this is genuine]. But when you’re done reading, before going out and buying yourself a brand new harness, first ask yourself, “Do I really need that?” Because even better than making responsible purchases is just plain-ol’ using what you have.
I have previously owned Arc’teryx harnesses, and quite honestly, have not been a fan. They bunch up and fold over at the waist, especially when loaded down with trad gear, making them extremely uncomfortable to hang or climb in. While their goal was light and fast, Arc’teryx had gone too far and streamlined their harnesses to the point that they were essentially light and useless. If you’ve had one of these harnesses, you probably (definitely) know what I’m talking about.
And Arc’teryx gets it too; by their own admission, they had a lot to learn and much to improve upon (another great thing about this innovative company). With their newest model, Arc’teryx completely revamped the make of their harnesses, addressing the bunching and folding (they call it “roping”) issue head on. They made prototypes, sent them out into the field for testing by their athletes, refined the harnesses based on feedback, and repeated this practice, over and over and over again.
What emerged from this process is without a doubt the best harness I have ever had. Fast and light, yes indeed, but also extremely, undeniably, and ridiculously comfortable. From hangdogging on my sport projects to climbing 2500 foot routes in the mountains, this harness does it all. And it doesn’t just subtract discomfort, it somehow adds comfort, supporting my lower back with zero pressure points and helping my clothes stay in place with its wide waist belt. Arc’teryx calls this Warp Strength Technology, and boy is it good. Additionally, the fabric is so streamlined that I can walk or climb quickly on moderate terrain without the leg loops bothering me one bit. All of this for 385 grams and the most packable harness I’ve ever owned.
Also, Arc’teryx [finally] added adjustable leg loops to their women’s specific harness, making the fit even better. Let all female body types rejoice! They also added attachment points for ice clippers and a wide haul loop in the back.
While they send some of their production abroad, Arc’teryx has a Vancouver factory that they reserve for their highest quality, highest innovation products. Thus, their harnesses are made right across the border in the politest land on earth (aka Canada), and only 50 miles from where I grew up. Now that’s cool!
So people, do yourselves a favor and check out Arc’teryx new line of harnesses. As is the case with all Arc products, you will more than make up for the expensive purchase with quality, comfort, longevity, and an awesome warranty. And just a warning: if you’ve had Arc’teryx harnesses before, be sure to check the size chart before you buy another of your previous size – with all their improvements, they’ve revamped their sizing as well to be more congruent with other Arc’teryx products.
Photo credit: Ramon Dompor